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Smuggling: Meat

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many seizures of illegal meat imported into the UK were made in each year since 2001, broken down by (a) country of origin and (b) product type; and what the total weight seized in each year was. (185623)

I have been asked to reply.

During the period 1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002, the number of seizures of illegal meat was 1,242 and Weight (kg) was 18,955. Statistics by specific region are not available for that period.

Seizures of illegal meat for 2002 to 2007 are listed by region in the following table.

1 April to 31 March each year

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Region ID

Region name

Number of seizures

Wgt (kg)

Number of seizures

Wgt (kg)

Number of seizures

Wgt (kg)

Number of seizures

Wgt (kg)

Number of times seized

Wgt (kg)

Vol (ltrs)

1

Eastern Europe

343

1,998

838

4,479

1,487

5,355

2,734

11,261

3,125

11,040.98

9,920

2

Eastern Africa

91

679

243

2,684

286

2,574

656

5,484

647

3,343.27

0

3

North Africa

10

14,119

53

361

113

617

263

1,179

394

1,225.29

1,200

4

Central Africa

14

148

61

550

78

573

97

511

130

730.54

2,000

5

Southern Africa

542

1,536

1,004

2,235

1,181

2,699

1,541

2,352

1,625

2,359.40

1,550

6

Western Africa

532

3,331

910

34,267

1,492

10,664

1,915

11,639

2,059

8,918.23

2,640

7

North America

124

298

402

2,706

720

2,333

693

1,647

656

1,427.28

256

8

Caribbean

237

826

279

1,617

451

2,171

567

2,320

722

2,215.70

0

9

Central and South America

43

183

102

346

132

544

175

2,037

252

2,799.13

0

10

Eastern Asia

549

5,182

1,486

9,664

2,807

23,662

3,471

41,618

5,795

18,735.59

2,380

11

Southern Asia

132

501

319

1,709

633

3,002

757

4,208

1,205

7,746.80

1

12

South East Asia

32

107

85

212

179

486

143

1,715

184

380.67

0

13

Near and Middle East

235

1,421

760

10,364

1,133

14,484

1,527

18,401

2,100

9,579.50

400

14

Oceania

31

503

127

326

131

411

124

453

80

17,698.86

0

15

European

19

52

60

714

8

7,943

7

30

14

65.84

0

16

Unknown

52

417

81

500

156

1,146

156

1,280

266

2,059.64

520

Total

2,986

31,301

6,810

72,734

10,987

78,664

14,826

106,135

19,254

90,326.72

20,867

The following should be noted:

(a) The aforementioned table shows by specific region the number, weight and volume of seizures of meat made from non-EU countries by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at British points of entry (and by staff funded by DEFRA until 11 April 2003), those made by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland (DARDNI) at points of entry in Northern Ireland and those made by inland local/port health authorities where they were able to establish that the illegal products came from non-EU countries. HMRC have been responsible for anti-smuggling controls on products of animal origin (POAO) into Britain since 11 April 2003.

On occasions more than one POAO product at a time will be seized (for example, meat, fish, dairy and honey). This is referred to as a ‘multiple seizure’. Up until 31 March 2006, this was only recorded as one seizure against the product of highest weight although the weight of the other products seized was included in the weight recorded for that product. However, the number of seizures by product for the period 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007 reflect the number of times each product was seized including those from a ‘multiple seizure’.

(b) Seizures of illegal meat imported into the United Kingdom (UK) are recorded by region rather than specific country. This is because in some cases it can be difficult to determine the precise country of origin for a particular product and people can often travel to the UK via another country (for example to catch a direct connecting flight to the UK). What is clear is that illegal imports of meat (and other products of animal origin) enter the UK from all over the world.

(c) Seizure figures are not recorded at the level of detail to determine the type of product (for example, chicken, pork etc.).